Monday, July 4, 2011

Top 50 Video game Moments: Number 45

Happy 4th of July.

Moment number 45 comes from Final Fantasy XIII. If you're one of the people who wasn't turned off by the game's first twenty (!) hours, but still haven't managed to finish the game, I suppose you should think twice before clicking the 'show more' link.

There were two prevailing opinions when it came to Final Fantasy XIII.

  1. It was very beautiful.
  2. It was kind of a frustrating failure.
For the first twenty (SE.RI.OUS.LY.) or so hours, I would have had to agree. The story is confusing and nonsensical, and most of the time spent on the upperworld of Cocoon is a linear slog that bears very little resemblance to the exploratory nature of the games that came before it. Then, with barely any warning, and little in the way of explanation, you're sent down to the lowerworld of Pulse. It's only then that the game begins to shine. The gameplay becomes fun, you're given a much larger world to run around in, and you find Chocobos.

Pictured: A prime reason to care about the first TWENTY HOURS.

But, of course, your time on Pulse has to end. To progress the story, you eventually have to go back to Cocoon. Luckily, the game rewards you with the best cutscene in the game.

 The embed really doesn't do this clip justice. Check out the HD version here.

For a moment, the game goes all Advent Children and really gives in to the idea that it's supposed to be a big, fun explosion of sound and color. For just a moment, the game forgets all about the ludicrous story it's been weaving and just loses itself in flashy action. That's not at all what Final Fantasy was built on, but if there was anything that was going to save this 30-40 hour game, it was those three or four minutes.

Sadly, it immediately dives back into the story full force, and somehow the story grows more incomprehensible the further it goes, to the point where no one I've talked has has any idea what's actually going on in the ending or anyone's motivations for doing whatever it is that they do. Ah well, we'll still have that cutscene.


  1. I am a huge fan of the series, and this game is flat-out terrible. The writing is middle-school level, and once you do Libra to an enemy, almost all the strategy is gone. It's a f*&^ing button masher!

    But, yeah, cool cutscene.

  2. I noticed pretty early on that the game was going to be absolutely no fun unless you were under-leveled, so I tried to stay at the very ragged edge of "simply impossible" most of the game, that at least made the combat palatable, and I tried not to auto-attack whenever possible.

    But yeah, worst game of the series, and every time the story came into view, it made me want to throw the disc(s) away.

  3. I still think it's better-written than the wretched VIII, but VIII, at least, had a decent story idea that was just botched beyond belief by the writers. Though that game, too, was depressingly easy once you figured out how to junction Comet to the max on your guys and never worry again.